…to plastic or nylon through hulls above or below the waterline. Second Star had two plastic through hull fittings, one a vent for the propane locker and one for the water cooled refrigeration discharge.
While upgrading the propane system the locker was removed along with the drain hoses, the plastic fitting couldn’t survive removing the hose before it broke. Fortunately, the fitting was located in a place where it would nearly impossible to reach, so the danger was mitigated by the location. However, it was clear that UV had taken its toll on the fitting, the plastic had severely deteriorated.
As a result of that experience, the decision was made to replace the refrigeration discharge with a stainless steel through hull. From outward appearances the fitting looked to be in much better shape than the one for the propane locker. Appearances can be deceiving. It took less than a half turn with very little pressure to break through hull. A stainless through hull is now in its place.
A metal, stainless or bronze, through hull is more expensive than plastic but considerably more robust. There are places to be frugal and save money on a boat, a through hull, even one above the waterline is not one of those places.
This past summer I decided it was past time to replace the vent hose on a water tank under the starboard settee. Not a big or difficult job, it did require removing the deck of the settee to access the hose, some time with a drill and screwdriver bit and the deck was off and I had access to the fitting. While disassembling the settee I notice a little water beneath the outlet. No problem I thought, I'll just tighten the screw on the clamp and it will be good.
To double check, I filled the tank with water and went for a beer. I wanted to make sure I had fixed the problem before putting everything back together. I came back, the water had returned and I pumped the tank empty. With the tank empty, I removed the fitting, put new teflon tape on the threads, attached the hose and tightened the clamps. After filling the tank with water I went home.
The next day, upon returning I found, no surprise, more water. Fearing the worst, a split seam on the tank, the tank was drained and I finished removing all the restraining parts to remove the tank. After wrestling with the tank, it yield to my persuasion. The good news, the seams in the tank were intact. Yahoo! And the leak was found. In the bottom corner of the tank that was tight against a bulkhead was an unused threaded hole for an outlet. The outlet had been sealed with a brass reducing bushing and a black iron plug. After 20 or so years the black iron finally failed and created a very slow leak.
A version of this article appears in the January/February 2020 issue of Good Old Boat Magazine.
Batteries are heavy. In a sailboat they are best positioned low and near the centerline of the boat and in a battery box. In other words, in some not easily accessible space. Most batteries destined for the marine market have handles or straps on them so they can be easily, well sort of easily, removed and replaced.
Many sailors have opted for batteries not specifically targeted for the marine market. Second Star and other sailboats destined for a cruising life often use 6v golf cart batteries. Wired in a series parallel circuit, GC batteries provide more electrical power for the money than standard Group 27 or 31 batteries. Designed for the demands of electric golf carts, GC batteries do not have straps or handles, rather the case has two ears to which a lifting strap is attached. The strap, made of thick rubber with steel hooks on each end, quickly connects to the ears allowing the battery to be lifted. The straps are inexpensive, readily available on Amazon.com, and most important, they work; except they come with an expiration date.
Last October Nick Hayes published a column, Imagine a PHRF System that is Fair, on the Sailing Magazine website. As an infrequent reader of Sailing Magazine I stumbled upon the column sometime after it was published and made a comment referencing the articles I have on this website. After posting I checked back for comments a couple of times, found none, and the column fell off my radar. Until the other day when I noticed one of my articles had an unusually large number of hits. Sure enough, there had been a few comments. Let me respond to them here.
Nick was the first to comment. He wrote, “I read your recommendations as a call for more information on more dimensions and continuous collection (review.)” If handicaps were based on a skipper/boat dimension that is based on actual performance, then less information is needed. The key information is the boat’s performance relative to other boat’s in the race. Each boat in the race has a handicap that is independent of the ratings of other boats but is dependent on how each boat in the race performs. Because each boat/skipper combination is unique, how the boat is equipped or not simply doesnot matter. What matters is how well the skipper sails the boat he has. If a skipper sails his boat as well or better than usual, the boat will finish higher in the fleet. Conversely, if the sails poorer than usual, the boat will finish lower in the fleet. That is the beauty of an individual handicap, the race becomes a matter of how well you sail the boat you have and not how deep your pockets are or how much time is spent in the yard long boarding the bottom.
You might be thinking paddling videos are nice, but what about sailing? After all the site is about a sailboat and sailing adventures. Well, I’m working on them. We did sail this summer, heading to Dutch John Bay on Stony Island and then off to Cape Vincent and a couple of Canadian Islands. Editing the footage and putting together the story takes time, while a short paddling video is much easier to create, the story line is clear and the footage short.